At every “Club 55” meeting a very patriotic gentleman named Obie Hill leads in the salute to the flag. His clear voice and demeanor reflects his twenty year in the Submarine service. Born in New Rochelle, New York he came to Groton and served on six submarines first in squadron 2 on the Submarine Base, and then in squadron 10 in New London. After retirement his experiences in weapon systems computers lead to a Department of Defense job and to extensive travel in both the United States and Europe for a total of 41 years of government service.
After he was “aged out” as Obie puts it, he spent time collecting stamps, coins, rare beer cans, old records and naval history in the form of old letters even a letter written by a crew member of the submarine USS Triton. He belongs to a nationwide organization called Universal Ships Cancellation Society an international philatelic organization with one thousand members. USCS promotes the study of navel vessels, naval postal markings and the collection of naval covers.
Obie admires Grace Hooper, an American computer scientist and United States Navy Rear Admiral who was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark II computer in 1944 and invented the first compiler for a computer programming language and was instrumental in the development of computer language Cobol and Fortran.
But there is another side of Obie that few know about. He helped raise a young boy who was from a broken home in New Haven and living under deplorable conditions with his father in Groton. He jokes about the fact that the young man of twelve was half Italian and Irish and he is African American. Quite a combination Obie says with pride. Not only did he help the boy but the whole family which included two other brothers living with their mother in New Haven. The young man is now retired with 20 years in the Army after Obie started him out in the Sea Cadet program way back when. Within that time, he even worked at the White House in Washington, D.C. and his two brothers are married and living in comfortable conditions.
Obie has never really “aged out” with his continued good nature, storytelling and collecting.